Olympique Lyonnais (OL) stepped up to the plate on Wednesday March 22. In a message on social networks, the club gave its support to midfielder, Houssem Aouar, who has been the target of racist insults since the announcement of his decision to wear the colors of Algeria in the national team.
The player, born in Lyon and produced by local training, had announced his choice on Thursday March 16. Previously, he had been an international French hopeful and he had obtained a cape with the A team, in 2020.
Aouar, down with his club for several months and whose contract with OL ends in June, was whistled when he came into play during the Ligue 1 match against Nantes (1-1) on Friday. , at Groupama Stadium. Supporters then even sang La Marseillaise to mark their disapproval. He is also the subject of racist insults on social networks.
"Football is universal", argued OL, condemning "hate" and showing its support for "Houssem Aouar as well as all those who are victims of racism and discriminatory acts because of their origins or choice of life ".
"I got a second chance and jumped on it"
On March 16, the 24-year-old explained in a video broadcast by the Algerian Football Federation (FAF), that the idea of representing the Fennecs "has been in his head for a very long time". He had finally decided after taking the time to reflect following a call from the boss of the FAF, Djahid Zefizef, who had contacted him in the summer of 2022 while he was on vacation in Algeria.
"I have a large part of me that is French because I was born here and I grew up here, but also I have a large part of me that is Algerian because I have my origins and also the way I was educated at home simply,” he argues.
"I couldn't see myself doing the process myself because I was afraid it would be perceived as opportunistic, and then the coach [Djamel Belmadi] and the president [of the FAF] held out their hand to me and I saw it as a sign of fate, got a second chance and jumped on it,” he added.
"This selection means a lot to me, to my family, to my parents, so it's something very strong for me," he continued. It's not a default choice at all, it's simply a choice of the heart. »
His only selection with the France team dates back to October 2020, during a match against Ukraine. A friendly meeting, which allowed him, under the regulations of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), to change sports nationality.